Many people that have heartburn or a mid-chest pain after eating are told they have a hiatal hernia and offered either surgery or are told they have to live with it. There is another option. Sometimes we can fix an uncomplicated hiatal hernia with simple common sense and without going to great lengths. Let’s see what is a hiatal hernia and what a logical approach to fixing an uncomplicated one might be.
Hiatal Hernia: Food enters the mouth and travels down to the stomach via a tube called the esophagus. This tube (the esophagus) has to pass through a 'hole' or opening in the diaphragm (which separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity) called the esophageal hiatus. Sometimes the upper portion of the stomach slides up above the diaphragm and food can get stuck there (pressure pain) or the stomach acids can wash against the unprotected esophagus (burning pain or 'heart burn' or 'acid reflux'). Once these contents wash down over time (we can assist the process by drinking some water) the pain clears and may return another day. When the stomach or abdominal contents bulge up through the opening in the diaphragm, they are said to herniate through this hiatus, hence a hiatus hernia. If the contents become twisted, we might have a life threatening situation that requires surgery. If it is a simple problem, we might be able to fix it with no more that some drinking water. A simple way to pop the stomach back down below the diaphragm where it belongs is to make it heavy enough until gravity pulls down on it. It's the next best thing to reaching in and grabbing the stomach and giving it a yank downward to pop it back down to where it belongs.
So how do we do that? I'll tell you how, and how I found the method (which was probably discovered by many people on their own in a similar fashion). Two years ago, my father (88 years old at that time) was visiting me. At 3AM I heard him calling me from his bedroom. I came over and he said he had a severe chest pain. You can image what was the first thought in my mind. But then, he said this has happened a few times, tends to come on when he bends forward and often clears on its own after 20 to 60 minutes. He had already been checked by his doctor and it was not his heart. I did an examination and found it was not a rib strain, it did not appear to be cardiac so I thought it might be some food stretching the lower portion of the esophagus, likely a hiatus hernia. I would have reached through his belly to grab the stomach and pull it down if I could. Since I couldn't, I did the next best thing. I had him drink at least 3 full glasses of lukewarm water in order to place a 'weight' in his stomach. Then, to make the water momentarily heavier, I asked him to make a quick dip by bending his knees thus allowing the body to fall down a few inches and then to catch himself and stop the downward movement. He did it poorly, but fortunately, I had a rebounder (mini-trampoline) so I asked him to get on it and bounce a few times while I supported him by holding his hands. He did that well for about 5 or 10 times. The pain stopped immediately.
Two weeks later he called me from his home at 2AM to tell me he was having another pain attack. I told him to drink the water and try doing the same by bending the knees and holding onto something for support. It worked. He has not had any more attacks since then and no surgery was needed. I've since used this approach with several patients and have had equally good results.
Disclaimer: The above article is for educational/informational purposes only. It is not meant to give specific medical advice. Before trying any of the above suggestions, discuss it with your doctor. Not everyone can tolerate drinking this quantity of fluid or the physical exercise component of this technique.